Author Topic: MMM conspiracy theory  (Read 19437 times)

2lazy2retire

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MMM conspiracy theory
« on: August 19, 2015, 01:52:24 PM »
Over recent months I have noticed a big jump in the number of articles pertaining to frugality appearing in what one might refer to as the WallStreet media -such publications as Bloomberg and the WSJ.
Bloggers well known on this site are now becoming household names with interest from mainstream publications and TV. Now it might well be and most likely is the result of their growing popularity that has garnered this attention not to mention the clikbait factor "Man retires at 30" etc.
But the cynic in me wonders if something darker is afoot here. Is there a hidden agenda to suggest to the shrinking middle classes that they only need 30K a year to live, or living below the poverty line is fine, or an increase in minimum wage is totally not needed, or even having a job is foolish, or maybe they are setting an expectation for the inevitable Guaranteed Minimum Income as automation eliminates jobs.  Meanwhile the 1% will be happy to carry the burden of that extra wealth so the rest of us can enjoy our frugal freedom.

forummm

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2015, 02:03:33 PM »
I don't know that "household names" is quite the case yet. I think the stories are interesting because they are so unusual. I don't see a widespread movement towards frugality. But certainly more popular than the near-0% that people were talking about early retirement before.

Your conspiracy theory is an interesting thought. But I can't imagine it's at all coordinated. Yet. :)

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2015, 02:06:16 PM »
There's cynical, and then there's conspiracy theory.  This is firmly the latter.

Besides, the rich stay rich because people spend.  They have nothing to gain from a grassroots movement encouraging frugality.  I believe the media attention is in response to the growing belief that retirement is impossible.  It gets clicks to say that the thing people think is impossible is not only possible to do, but possible to do *early*.
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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2015, 02:09:20 PM »
MMM's blog discusses, among other things, spending relatively small amounts of money. At no point does he advocate earning small amounts of money during one's working career. In fact, he has several blog posts discussing how to achieve a higher level of income. This is basically a complete response to the OP.
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sol

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2015, 02:11:25 PM »
I don't think it's a deliberate conspiracy any more today than it was a hundred years ago.  The rich are always trying to convince the poor that being poor is an okay thing.

If anything, I think the anti consumerist philosophy hurts their propaganda.  They want to convince people to stay poor by spending their entire paycheck trying to look rich, to blow it all on shiny new phones and cars and granite kitchens instead of amassing any real wealth.

If MMM convinces people to be happy being poor, that supports the plutocracy.  If he convinced people to get rich by giving less money to the rich people who sell that stuff, that undermines the conspiracy.  But I agree it's a subtle distinction.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2015, 02:14:04 PM by sol »

brooklynguy

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2015, 02:53:58 PM »
MMM (a/k/a "Pete") and the other fixtures of the wider FIRE blogosphere are all fabrications concocted by the narrow slice of capitalist industry that actually benefits from their perceived existence, including, but not limited to, lentil bean producers, bicycle manufacturers and the mutual fund industry.  The recent blitzkrieg promotion in the Wall Street media, itself also orchestrated by the various trade groups representing these industries, reflects a campaign to expand the conspiracy's reach.

Trust no one.

AZDude

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2015, 02:57:01 PM »
People are always looking for something new, and the FIRE scheme pushed by MMM and others is something relatively new to the MSM. So they push it rather than recycle the same crap over and over.

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2015, 03:22:55 PM »
Click bait.

They spew out thousands of what they call "Articles" every single day. They need junk to write about. I think it's that simple. Or....

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brooklynguy

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2015, 03:46:40 PM »
The current game will be up as automation eliminates the jobs of those whose consumer spending feeds the wealth of the 1%.

As the head of the automobile workers union reportedly once retorted to management when implicitly threatened with the possibility of automating the entire factory floor, "And will the robots buy your cars?"

Quote
As the jobs dry up and the smell of revolt is in the air the focus of the privileged will change from accumulation and growth to preservation. As we approach this paradigm shift the focus must be to convince the proletariat that their needs may be met but their expectations will need to be managed.

There's a tragedy of the commons problem in there.  The "privileged" are not a unified block, and each self-interested member of that class will seek to maximize his own profits in the economy as it exists today, despite the fact that that behavior will in the long term collectively endanger the position of the plutocracy as a whole.

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2015, 03:47:42 PM »
I don't think there's much to this - in part because those stories seem to be balanced with others explaining how it's superhard to scrape by on just $250k per year. And they need to keep those stories in circulation, so the rest of us understand why a progressive tax structure is such a hardship for high income earners, what with having to pay for private schools and nannies and monogrammed built in BBQ's at their summer houses.

Eric

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2015, 05:32:22 PM »
I believe the media attention is in response to the growing belief that retirement is impossible.  It gets clicks to say that the thing people think is impossible is not only possible to do, but possible to do *early*.

Definitely this.  There have also been a rise in articles touting the Looming Retirement Crisisô so the early retirement articles are the natural contradiction to those.
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sol

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2015, 05:40:12 PM »
There's a tragedy of the commons problem in there.

I'm not sure that watching an exploitive plutocracy self-destruct is really a tragedy, if it is replaced with a newly rejuvenated middle class and a broadly rising standard of living.

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2015, 10:07:09 PM »
It always strikes me that the voice behind the "You'll never be able to save enough to retire. You must.keep.working." threat is the oh-so-powerful Financial Industry. Workers tend to save while they're working and then stop saving and start spending in retirement. The Financial Industry wants you scared and working as long as possible so they can continue to have a slice of your pie.

The MMM movement throws a monkeywrench into that negative/scare the shit-out-of-you/you need us to tell you what to do because you can't manage it yourself  kind of thinking.
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desk_jockey

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2015, 06:03:09 AM »
There is not something darker afoot, itís just an observation of the larger change thatís happening in Media.   You noticed MMM topics more in financial media, because they happen to write on financial subjects.  The trend to publish these types of stories however is increasing on all traditional media.  Producers of media watch social media to see peopleís interests, and then publish articles to drive visitors to their sites.  Frugality has been increasing since the most recent economic crisis so it gets more publication.

Writing about bloggers is a symbiotic relationship.   The media concern gets a mostly pre-packaged story along with a willing interviewee who knows how to answer questions in an interesting manner.  The blogger gets more attention and resulting traffic to their site.

Itís no different than all the upcoming entrepreneur articles that started appearing in publications in the early 90s and have grown steadily ever since.   There is no conspiracy that the 1% is trying to get everyone to be self-employed, itís just an easy way to write a story that catches the interest in a significant amount of people and those who have started the companies are willing participants in the story.

Frugality isnít the only thing trending.   If you look youíll also see a lot of these short articles appearing in traditional media about Digital Nomads, significant weight loss, people who live in tiny houses or do other Ďunusualí things for environmental principles, etc.     All-in-all, itís not a bad thing that attention is given to these items.   At the very least they replace some of the stories about whatever celebrityís new cosmetic surgery.   
« Last Edit: August 20, 2015, 09:00:01 AM by desk_jockey »

Matilda

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2015, 10:47:47 AM »
MMM (a/k/a "Pete") and the other fixtures of the wider FIRE blogosphere are all fabrications concocted by the narrow slice of capitalist industry that actually benefits from their perceived existence, including, but not limited to, lentil bean producers, bicycle manufacturers and the mutual fund industry.  The recent blitzkrieg promotion in the Wall Street media, itself also orchestrated by the various trade groups representing these industries, reflects a campaign to expand the conspiracy's reach.

Trust no one.

THIS.  The lentil people are obviously behind it!

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2015, 12:12:59 PM »
MMM (a/k/a "Pete") and the other fixtures of the wider FIRE blogosphere are all fabrications concocted by the narrow slice of capitalist industry that actually benefits from their perceived existence, including, but not limited to, lentil bean producers, bicycle manufacturers and the mutual fund industry.  The recent blitzkrieg promotion in the Wall Street media, itself also orchestrated by the various trade groups representing these industries, reflects a campaign to expand the conspiracy's reach.

Trust no one.

THIS.  The lentil people are obviously behind it!

When will people begin to understand the dangers of Big Lentil?
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zsmith

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2015, 12:33:40 PM »
Saw an article today http://cashvilleskyline.com/2015/08/12/frugality/ from Cashville Skyline. People are simply fascinated by this idea of frugality, but few are willing to do anything about it.

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2015, 12:54:47 PM »

There's a tragedy of the commons problem in there.

I'm not sure that watching an exploitive plutocracy self-destruct is really a tragedy, if it is replaced with a newly rejuvenated middle class and a broadly rising standard of living.

Big assumptions, there.

Rapid revolutions are very problematic because the old jerks on top are replaced by the new jerks on top.

As I get ever older I become ever more of an incrementalist. I favor small changes to level out the playing field.

Like moving towards an actual (as opposed to nominal) progressive tax regime, aggresdively raising the minimum wage, paying the middle class for overtime, and ensuring that everyone has health care.

Slow change that's the key.

I think Nick Hanauer hits all the right notes and highly recommend this podcast.

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2015/06/mib-nick-hanauer-early-internet-adopter/
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mozar

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2015, 07:23:50 PM »
Whoa, slow down there. Let's catch our breath and break this down.

Quote
But the cynic in me wonders if something darker is afoot here. Is there a hidden agenda to suggest to the shrinking middle classes that they only need 30K a year to live, or living below the poverty line is fine, or an increase in minimum wage is totally not needed, or even having a job is foolish, or maybe they are setting an expectation for the inevitable Guaranteed Minimum Income as automation eliminates jobs.  Meanwhile the 1% will be happy to carry the burden of that extra wealth so the rest of us can enjoy our frugal freedom.

Like most conspiracies, I think you are half right. I wouldn't use the phrase "hidden agenda" but it is the US culture for people to blame themselves for anything, including decreasing living standards. Part of the protestant work ethic. If you are not making money, it's your own fault. Take this article:
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/why-6-million-americans-rather-110004086.html

It's how 6 million people "prefer" part time work. Do they really prefer it or have they convinced themselves they do because they can't find a high quality middle class job? I can just see my boss 5 years from now saying "hey mozar, we are moving you to part time, we find that people prefer it!" But I will not be given a choice. The same with finding your "passion." I do see it as an excuse for employers not to pay better. And all the while, all jobs are being automated. The article says that by 2020 40% of jobs will be part time. The article says it will be by "choice," I see it as another 10%+ of jobs will be automated by then, and we have to blame ourselves somehow.
 
I think MMM combats that by saying that we can take control of our financial futures.
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EricL

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2015, 09:43:00 PM »
Left wing loonies will inevitably believe MMM is a plutocrat plot to brainwash the masses they should be satisfied with low pay, blaming the victim, and failing to check privilege. 

Right wing loonies will inevitably believe MMM is a communist plot to brainwash the masses to adopt communal world views, believe in climate change, and lower economic productivity by getting FIREd.

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2015, 09:44:24 PM »
I'm a left wing loony and I don't think that....
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EricL

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2015, 12:36:16 AM »
But you forget the loonie logic native to all sides: if you claim to be part of X group but believe in Y then you aren't a true member of X.
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milesdividendmd

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #22 on: August 21, 2015, 09:36:37 AM »
Who defines the relationship between x and y?
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Matilda

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #23 on: August 21, 2015, 09:42:23 AM »
Who defines the relationship between x and y?
Algebra.

milesdividendmd

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #24 on: August 21, 2015, 10:02:54 AM »
Well played.

But algebra is like the honey badger. It don't give a fuck.
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Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #25 on: August 21, 2015, 10:06:44 AM »
If you zoom in on MMM's left eye, you'll see IT'S THE EXACT SAME AS THE EYE ON THE DOLLAR BILL!

Wake up sheeple! MMM is an ILLUMINATI invention!

Something, something, Nazis!

Matilda

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #26 on: August 22, 2015, 02:28:06 PM »
If you zoom in on MMM's left eye, you'll see IT'S THE EXACT SAME AS THE EYE ON THE DOLLAR BILL!

Wake up sheeple! MMM is an ILLUMINATI invention!

Something, something, Nazis!

You forgot to mention lizard people.  Conspiracy theory fail. 

tallen

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #27 on: August 23, 2015, 08:45:38 AM »
Case of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon?

10dollarsatatime

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #28 on: August 23, 2015, 03:00:03 PM »
When I started looking at houses, my Realtor told me that I would start noticing every for sale sign, it would seem like there were suddenly a ton of people in my circles talking about home ownership, and their perfect kitchen, and what they wanted in their next house, and I would see SO many billboards advertising mortgages.  In reality, none of the rates of incidence went up for these things.  I was just noticing more because it was on my radar.

I don't know how long you've been following MMM, but it is likely that you're just noticing more because suddenly frugality is on your radar...
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darkadams00

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #29 on: August 23, 2015, 08:21:11 PM »
When I started looking at houses, my Realtor told me that I would start noticing every for sale sign, it would seem like there were suddenly a ton of people in my circles talking about home ownership, and their perfect kitchen, and what they wanted in their next house, and I would see SO many billboards advertising mortgages.  In reality, none of the rates of incidence went up for these things.  I was just noticing more because it was on my radar.

I don't know how long you've been following MMM, but it is likely that you're just noticing more because suddenly frugality is on your radar...

Yeah, this happened to me when I had a headlight go out in my car and I didn't get it fixed for two weeks. Now every third car seemed to have a headlight out as well.

Bob W

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #30 on: August 24, 2015, 11:31:52 AM »
It all started with that fake moon landing.   Don't believe me?  Check the old tapes and you'll see the flag blowing and glare from the studio lights!
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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #31 on: August 24, 2015, 03:24:38 PM »

It all started with that fake moon landing.   Don't believe me?  Check the old tapes and you'll see the flag blowing and glare from the studio lights!

I'm taking this as a joke. Please reassure me that I'm right bob W.
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sol

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #32 on: August 24, 2015, 03:28:31 PM »

It all started with that fake moon landing.   Don't believe me?  Check the old tapes and you'll see the flag blowing and glare from the studio lights!

I'm taking this as a joke. Please reassure me that I'm right bob W.

You never know with Bob.  One day it's "vote for Trump!" and the next it's "Trump is one of the lizard people who secretly live inside the hollow earth!"

arebelspy

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #33 on: November 06, 2015, 03:25:14 PM »

It all started with that fake moon landing.   Don't believe me?  Check the old tapes and you'll see the flag blowing and glare from the studio lights!

I'm taking this as a joke. Please reassure me that I'm right bob W.

You never know with Bob.  One day it's "vote for Trump!" and the next it's "Trump is one of the lizard people who secretly live inside the hollow earth!"

I don't see the conflict there.  The second quote is just the reason why for the first quote.
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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #34 on: November 07, 2015, 08:36:05 AM »
Even otherwise well educated and smart people don't think through all the information the finance industry puts out.  I know someone who is moaning about his upcoming retirement (sometime in the next 2-3 years) because he hasn't saved up the $1.5 million he is "supposed" to have. This is someone who will get a partly-indexed pension at somewhere between 70-74% of the average of his best 5 years as a pension.  He has also maxed out his RRSP (given, not a lot of RRSP room since there was all the work pension contribution).  He is set.  But because he hasn't thought it through, he is worried.
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Adram

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #35 on: November 08, 2015, 12:21:14 AM »
I was just thinking the same thing about conspiracy a couple of days ago! Been seeing frugality articles everywhere.

However my idea was that it was Goldman Sachs trying to get everyone into index funds to make the market boom again since most people are shit scared of another crash.

Landlord2015

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #36 on: November 08, 2015, 05:31:12 AM »

It all started with that fake moon landing.   Don't believe me?  Check the old tapes and you'll see the flag blowing and glare from the studio lights!

I'm taking this as a joke. Please reassure me that I'm right bob W.

You never know with Bob.  One day it's "vote for Trump!" and the next it's "Trump is one of the lizard people who secretly live inside the hollow earth!"
Well I tend to keep an open mind about Conspiracy theories as not immediately not saying they are 100% true, but neither completely denying them.

There is an old saying there is fire if there is lots of smoke... but at same time problem is also some people jump to conclusions to easily.

Please be noted that I want nothing horrifying happening in the real world and I respect continents America, Europe, Asia, Australia...who seem at least partly depending on  the country have ok economy.

I like to see Action and Horror movies..

Here is an interesting movie for those who want to dwell on conspiracy theories:
The Conspiracy (2012)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2330322/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Anyway I like Action and horror genre in general and I did this weekend see Crimson Peak at cinema and though it was a disappointment in horror factor it was fairly good mystery&and dark story.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2015, 05:37:33 AM by Landlord2015 »

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #37 on: November 08, 2015, 06:00:16 AM »
I was just thinking the same thing about conspiracy a couple of days ago! Been seeing frugality articles everywhere.

However my idea was that it was Goldman Sachs trying to get everyone into index funds to make the market boom again since most people are shit scared of another crash.

This to me is the best theory... But if it was true I think it would be more like what Dave Ramsey tries to pull: get people to buy expensive front loaded funds.

The_path_less_taken

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #38 on: November 08, 2015, 08:11:03 AM »
I was walking my dog (wow, I only had one back then!) in the San Francisco Marina one day when I decided I 'had' to go down to Carmel to see a friend. That minute. Someone I hadn't seen in a while came up and asked me out to lunch, I said no thanks, going to visit somebody now. Got in the car and went.

An hour later that bigass earthquake happened and the Marina was a mess and half on fire, the bridge had  a partial collapse, etc.

Were these two things connected? Nope. But I was pretty happy I wasn't in the Marina when it fell apart.

Sometimes, it doesn't matter why something causes you to do something---leave town, save for retirement, whatever---it just matters that you do it.

MMM ain't a conspiracy. But there are things on here that can help your financial situation, big time.

RetiredAt63

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #39 on: November 08, 2015, 08:35:54 AM »
To go with the conspiracy theory - it is the investment companies/banks - the guy I referred to above, who thinks he needs 1.5 million despite his good pension?  He thinks he needs that because of bank ads and finance articles in the newspapers.  He doesn't stop to think that they are talking about people who have no pension.

And look at the Financial Post articles about planning for retirement (some have been posted elsewhere) - the lifestyles these people are looking at in retirement are so unreal.
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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #40 on: November 08, 2015, 11:30:40 AM »
You're giving the media too much credit here.

There's a follow-the-leader mentality. Producers and editors love to think of themselves as trend spotters when all they do is scan other media outlets and try to put another spin on them. The death of newspapers means TV "reporters" and most bloggers might have to do some original reporting.
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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #41 on: November 08, 2015, 01:32:06 PM »
It's threads like this that make this site for me, such characters!

Linda_Norway

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #42 on: February 13, 2018, 03:12:57 AM »
If many people in the western world would stop consuming as much as we do, the economy would get hit. Companies would not be making enough money and the stock market would make a big dive. Maybe the environment would benefit from it. Many things, like pensions, are based on that the economy will grow. That means we will have to spend more and more money. We are doing the opposite.

jim555

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #43 on: February 13, 2018, 04:16:50 AM »
But the cynic in me wonders if something darker is afoot here. Is there a hidden agenda to suggest to the shrinking middle classes that they only need 30K a year to live, or living below the poverty line is fine, or an increase in minimum wage is totally not needed, or even having a job is foolish, or maybe they are setting an expectation for the inevitable Guaranteed Minimum Income as automation eliminates jobs.  Meanwhile the 1% will be happy to carry the burden of that extra wealth so the rest of us can enjoy our frugal freedom.
"Guaranteed Minimum Income" - LOL 
Maybe ration cards if the whole system falls apart, but GMI is a non starter, esp in the US.

Just Joe

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #44 on: February 13, 2018, 10:25:32 AM »
So nobody blames it on the Millennials? Gah!

Seriously, SOME of these MSM articles have value. Many read like advertisements with a lead in story about retirement.

The reader sees what they want to. 

Highbeam

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #45 on: February 13, 2018, 10:35:52 AM »
I think it's the cookies. The more you click on financial articles, FIRE articles, the more the engines provide targeted content to match your desires. It's creepy. Like targeted advertising after you look at an item on amazon.

Canadian Ben

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #46 on: February 13, 2018, 10:46:03 AM »
I think it's the cookies. The more you click on financial articles, FIRE articles, the more the engines provide targeted content to match your desires. It's creepy. Like targeted advertising after you look at an item on amazon.
Get out of here with your logic.

Who eats cookies? Cookiemonster.

Sesame Street is behind it all. It can't be a coincidence that both they and wall street have 50% the same name.

TELL EVERYONE.

farmecologist

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #47 on: February 13, 2018, 10:48:19 AM »
It's threads like this that make this site for me, such characters!

I agree!  Unexpected threads like this makes the site interesting. 

As far as my two cents...I'd argue that minimalism is anti-consumerism.  Consumerism is the engine that powers the economy..which feeds the  companies that make the rich...well...rich!  So no...not a conspiracy by any stretch!  Interesting discussion anyway. 

illuminati though...now there's a theory.  :-)

 
« Last Edit: February 13, 2018, 10:51:56 AM by farmecologist »

trollwithamustache

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #48 on: February 13, 2018, 10:50:08 AM »
Its pretty easy to get/be rich, most people just don't want to actually do the work. Every now and then people rediscover mustachio principles.. but then a few days later they rediscover the small amount of work part.  Hardly a conspiracy.

FWIW, I define rich as freedom and that comes well before ER/FI/triple mint mustache.

CheapskateWife

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Re: MMM conspiracy theory
« Reply #49 on: February 13, 2018, 10:52:15 AM »
I think its all a conspiracy by Big Avocado...they peddle these articles about how millennials will never retire because of avocado toast and what are you suddenly now craving?  That's right.  Smashed Avocado on whole grain bread.